James Gunn has assured fans that they don’t need to have seen the previous film to enjoy “Suicide Squad.” Gunn is both the writer and director of the upcoming film, which is the tenth installment of the DCEU. Suicide Squad will be released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.
The Suicide Squad is a popular concept in the pages of DC Comics and became known to the general public with the release of the 2016 film Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer. While the film was a financial success, grossing over $746 million at the worldwide box office, it was panned by critics and fans alike, with the studio interfering so heavily that many, including the film’s stars, called for Ayer’s cut to be released. Gunn jumped on the “sequel” in 2018, and while it’s still in continuity with the previous film, it doesn’t seem to be required reading to see its part.
Suicide Squad brings back some fan favorites from the prequel, such as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney). This provides a small connection to the previous film, while allowing Gunn to fill out the rest of the cast with new characters who have no connection to the previous film’s adventures and who viewers will meet for the first time, including Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and Peacemaker (John Cena). With a focus on new characters and a Peacemaker spin-off series for HBO Max, Warner Bros. is positioning this as a new departure for audiences.
The marketing around Suicide Squad has done a lot to highlight the difference in approach between the upcoming film and its predecessor. Ayer’s film borrows heavily from the 2011 New 52 relaunch of Suicide Squad, while Gunn has cited the influence of John Ostrander’s 1980s series in the title. Gunn’s film will have an R rating, unlike the two Guardians of the Galaxy films or Suicide Squad, which were all PG-13. With a new cast of characters, an all-new style, and a bloody R-rating, Warner Bros. hopes James Gunn’s incarnation of the season will be able to appeal to fans of the 2016 film, those put off by the previous installment, and new viewers who skipped the previous film with a fresh approach.